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Bangladesh: Families collect bodies from hospital after massive fire kills 70

A dead body is carried out from a burnt warehouse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Dhaka, Bangladesh Feb 22, 2019, 07.30 AM (IST)

Relatives of victims of a fire that killed at least 70 people waited outside Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Thursday to collect the bodies of their loved ones.

The fire engulfed several buildings in a centuries-old neighbourhood of the Bangladesh capital, a fire official said on Thursday, warning the toll could climb as firefighters scour the rubble.

Lax regulations and poor enforcement of rules in impoverished Bangladesh have often been blamed for several large fires that have led to hundreds of deaths in recent years.

The city's worst fire since 2012 broke out late on Wednesday night in a five-storey building, before spreading to others nearby in the Chawkbazar precinct, parts of which date back more than 300 years to the Mughal period.

At least a dozen of the roughly 50 people taken to hospital were in critical condition, Julfikar Rahman, a director of the Fire Service and Civil Defence, told Reuters. Hundreds of distraught relatives thronged the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital to seek missing relatives, witnesses said.

Bangladesh has set up a five-member panel to inquire into the fire, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told media, adding that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was monitoring the situation.

Story highlights

The city's worst fire since 2012 broke out late on Wednesday night in a five-storey building, before spreading to others nearby in the Chawkbazar precinct, parts of which date back more than 300 years to the Mughal period.